A community builds what is called social capital when its citizens have a well developed sense of civic responsibility and generosity that is expressed through their voluntarism and involvement in the community.Citizens can engage in political, recreational and charitable activities and give generously of their time, talents, energy and money. When they participate as leaders at the neighbourhood, town, city and regional levels, the community benefits and so does the individual. Trust, social networking and a sense of community belonging are built in this way.


What we are doing well …

People have a desire to belong to their community, culture, family and friendship networks and to engage at different levels in the decision making and voting processes of society. Niagara’s citizens show this belonging and leadership by devoting their time and energy toward volunteering and charitable giving. Several mentoring projects and leadership development initiatives are emerging in Niagara. Niagara has an increasing number of seniors and they provide significant volunteer time to child care and seniors’ care. High schools have mandated community service hours and experiences for students. Niagara residents report a higher sense of belonging to their community than Ontario or Canada and had a slightly higher voter turnout rate in the last Federal election.


Where we can improve …

Niagara residents have many competing priorities demanding their time, energy and financial giving.  While many of the elderly population in Niagara are well, many also require increased services, friendly visiting, home care, palliative care and meals delivered to home to help them to remain connected to the community and to live independently.  It is a community challenge to cultivate an attitude of civic participation, charitable giving, voluntarism, engagement and leadership for our youth. Our gender representation at all levels of government is predominantly male.


Overall score: Level 3. Progress is being made.

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